Max Verstappen has the GP of the Netherlands in Zandvoort to his will. He received strong resistance from the Mercedes duo Hamilton and Russell, but the Dutch fans were able to celebrate.
With a demonstration in Spa last week, Max Verstappen had taken the tension out of the World Cup battle a bit more. In Zandvoort, the Dutchman was able to take a new step towards the second consecutive world title for an enthusiastic Orange legion.
Verstappen had already shown himself the fastest in qualifying and also started excellent from pole. Overtaking was no mean feat on the narrow course along the Dutch North Sea, Verstappen was able to check quickly.
Not much happened along the way. Ferrari saw Sainz fall back after a bad pit stop, Leclerc lacked the speed to really struggle in the front. Mercedes did an excellent job. The “Silver Arrows” had started on medium tires and were able to delay their first pit stop for a long time; a good tactic, as it turns out.
More than 100,000 Dutch fans shouted out their hero.
Mercedes tries, in vain
When at 17 laps from the end the safety car came on track after crashes at Bottas, another plot twist suddenly followed. Red Bull intervened by calling Verstappen in for soft tires, Hamilton suddenly took the lead, albeit on old rubber.
But at the restart, Verstappen immediately crushed all British hopes. In one-two-three he blazed past Hamilton, who later, much to his dismay, also saw teammate Russell speed past.
The dispute was immediately settled. Verstappen drove undisturbed towards a fourth GP victory in a row. Russell finished second, Leclerc finally took third place from Hamilton. With 9 GPs to go, it seems no longer a question of who will become world champion, but where and when Verstappen will finish.
Hamilton was in the lead for a while.
Verstappen: “We have to fight the whole game”
“Today’s race was not exactly straight forward,” said Verstappen afterwards. “We had to fight the whole race. Also with the intervention of the safety car, but we did an excellent job. We had excellent speed again today.”
“Before the safety car, I thought we were good on our hard tires, even though we were slower than Hamilton. We decided to drive in for new tires, but then Russell also went into the pits. We had more top speed. , so we kept calm.”
“It’s incredible to win here again. It’s always special to win in front of your own people. I had to fight a little harder than last year, but that makes it even better. The support from the fans here has been great. I’m proud to to be Dutch.”